How Arcadia Streamlined Resident Engagement with Caremerge Voice

With the rise of platforms like Zoom and FaceTime, keeping residents connected with their communities and loved ones should be easier than ever. But what happens when members of your community aren’t familiar with these digital tools? 

Voice technology offers an accessible solution because it rarely requires knowledge of operating systems or the use of tiny displays, which can bring older adults together, from the tech-savvy to the tech-averse. 

Michael Chong is the Chief Information Officer of the Arcadia Family of Companies, which oversees Arcadia and 15 Craigside, two Life Plan Communities in Honolulu, Hawaii. Here, Michael shares how Arcadia and 15 Craigside use Caremerge Voice to drive community engagement and achieve higher levels of care. 

Social Isolation Accelerated the Initiative to Drive Resident Engagement

Before Caremerge, Arcadia and 15 Craigside used a platform primarily for scheduling events. That platform was helpful in documenting resident attendance, but it didn’t drive resident engagement. So, five years ago, they shifted to Caremerge for its advanced data and engagement capabilities, like live activity tracking and an interactive social hub for residents.

By 2021, existing Caremerge platforms organized staff and connected families at Arcadia and 15 Craigside, but staff was beginning to see the stress residents faced in social isolation, particularly in the winter of 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to this social isolation, Arcadia and 15 Craigside decided to focus on engaging residents through virtual companionship, using three guidelines: ease of use, safety, and improving the quality of life of residents.  

  • Ease of use was an especially important factor in evaluating platforms. Arcadia and 15 Craigside provide iPads to residents but often find them either tucked away in closets or left uncharged. Choosing a technology that required little, if any, resident maintenance (charging, using accessories like styluses, etc.) was key in finding a way to drive resident engagement
  • Safety was a factor because Arcadia and 15 Craigside staff envisioned a solution that could, eventually, enable residents to quickly call for help. Typically, when residents fall, they have difficulty reaching their emergency pull cord, phone, or pendant. Arcadia wanted a solution that could enable greater resident care
  • Finally, there is the overall improvement of resident’s quality of life. Nearly 80 percent of older adults have at least one chronic condition. This can, in some cases, limit mobility and negatively impact how an older adult moves through their community. 

Arcadia wanted a solution that wouldn’t require any difficult movements to operate, like bending down to unplug or using tiny finger movements on a screen. The goal was to implement a solution that could help every resident, and that solution was Caremerge Voice.

Why Accessible Voice Technology Empowers Residents

The appeal of voice technology is that it’s a low-barrier way to engage residents. Within Arcadia

and 15 Craigside, 58 percent of residents who took part in the pilot program reported their Echo

Dot was easier to use than iPhones or iPads. 

With voice technology, residents can have information broadcast to them in their own homes. Alternatively, residents can program their voice assistant to announce their own information, from setting reminders to notifying staff of any emergent or non-emergent needs.

In the pilot program, Arcadia and 15 Craigside residents frequently used their Echo Dots to accomplish a variety of tasks. The most common ways residents used their Echo Dots were to set timers, alarms, and reminders. By leveraging voice technology’s capabilities to reinforce their routines, residents demonstrated how voice technology can be used to promote older adults’ autonomy.  

However, residents also frequently used Echo Dots for mail alerts, announcements, and music. These uses are specifically tailored toward gaining a greater sense of community. When coupled with how frequently residents used their Echo Dots – 91 percent of residents reported at least weekly use – this paints an encouraging picture for increased engagement. 

How Adding Caremerge Voice Connects Residents to Their Community

Arcadia and 15 Craigside knew that they wanted to implement Caremerge Voice mindfully and intentionally. So, they proposed a multi-phase pilot program, where residents were provided with surveys and the choice to either opt-in or opt-out. 

  • Phase one, which recently wrapped up this past June, featured training on Amazon’s Echo Dot, which was present in each participating resident’s apartment. After training, residents were free to go about their normal life, using their Echo Dot as often as they liked. 
  • Phase two, which is set to launch later this month, will feature the same training and availability of the Echo Dot with a noteworthy inclusion: smart home devices that control temperature and lighting. This is where the multi-phase rollout is particularly beneficial. It allows residents to acclimate to the technology in the first phase and continue with the pilot program if they would like to learn even more in the second. 

Resident satisfaction is crucial to the integration of Caremerge Voice. In order to gain clarity on the resident experience, surveys are scheduled before and after each phase of the program. These surveys inform Arcadia and 15 Craigside both of the use case and how frequently residents use their Echo Dot.

The phase one resident experience surveys were overwhelmingly successful. Of the over 200 residents in phase one of the pilot program, 124 of them reported that using their Echo Dot improved convenience. In a Phase 1 resident survey, 98 percent of residents found their Echo Dot and voice technology improved an area of their lives. 

The effectiveness of voice technology was additionally supported by resident sentiments. As one said, “This is an excellent service, especially for those suffering from physical challenges.”

Arcadia and 15 Craigside found that older adults are excited about technology’s potential to improve their lives. In the words of another resident, “How quickly can we get to Phase Two?”

Find a Senior Living Software Provider that Brings Technology for Older Adults to Your Community

Implementing any technology for older adults requires an upfront investment in hardware, installation, and training. When your staff and residents are ready to try a new approach to communication, voice technology is well worth it.

The benefits of accessible voice technology are far-reaching, and a continuous work in progress. For example, as Arcadia and 15 Craigside prepare for phase two, they will be looking to train residents on new devices that improve engagement and their quality of life.

Partnerships require communication and coordination between the two parties – this is why having a company that works with you is a huge asset. A healthy partnership ensures that residents are receiving top-notch care and access to evolving senior living technologies.

To learn about how Caremerge can support your community’s resident engagement strategy, sign up for a demo today.  

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